Cat Travel: Moving Overseas with Cats
It’s not just dogs that are a man’s best friend – cats are too! Cats make fantastic companions and we relocate hundreds of cats to new homes across the world each year. Now, we know that cats can be extremely fussy, so we make our travel options and services flexible to suit each individual feline friend!
Relocating your cat can be a worrying and stressful experience. Our team of pet travel experts will be on hand every step of the way to help and reassure you. We have a 24-hour contact line and our friendly team are always available to answer your questions.
Travelling Long Distance with Cats
Cats are naturally territorial animals. While your feline friend may be nothing but placid and caring when in your home (its own territory) outside this bubble things can be rather different. Each of the cats in your area will have its territory which it will protect. There is seldom much of an overlap though make cats may have a territory that overlaps with a number of females.This is definitely something to remember when your cat is travelling; they will be in unfamiliar territory and likely to feel uncomfortable.
Whilst your cat will be secure and safely housed within a travel carrier, the reality is that some cat owners still find that their feline does not enjoy travel in the same way as a dog might. Rather than a potentially exciting adventure, cats generally view travel as a nerve-racking trial.
As a result, anything that you can do to make the process more comfortable for your cat will be beneficial.
Cat Travel by Air
A large proportion of airlines accept transportation of cats in the hold but do bear in mind that not all of them do. Despite EU regulations allowing pets of up to 8kg to travel in the cabin, there are currently no UK airlines which allow pets (other than assistance dogs) to travel in the cabin.
You’ll also be required to use an IATA approved travel carrier. If you already have one, PBS are on hand to advise of its suitability inline with the IATA regulations.
In some situations, for example where your chosen airline is not licenced for pet transport, your cat may need to travel on a separate flight to you. Therefore, forward planning can be very wise when taking your pet overseas by air.
Moreover, to minimise the stress to your cat, where possible opt for using a direct flight.
Cat Travel Under the Pet Travel Scheme
The main benefits from the Pet Travel Scheme is your cat can be taken abroad to EU countries and specified listed countries with relative ease, and more importantly without the need for quarantine.
For your cat to qualify for the pet travel scheme, you’ll need to fulfil a few requirements and complete a Pet Passport application with a pet travel scheme approved and licenced veterinarian. The requirements for your cat to secure a Pet Passport include – a microchip and a rabies vaccination.
Once a Pet Passport has been issued to your cat, it will be valid for their lifetime.
Pet Carriers for Cats
For the safety of your cat it is normal to transport moggies within a secure pet carrier. For overland cat travel these can be purchased from many pet shops. However, if you are considering international cat travel then you will need to meet a number of requirements set out by airlines.
To make your life easier, PBS Pet Travel can supply airline-approved cat carriers. This means you can rest assured that the cat carrier abides by airline rules and will be accepted when relocating overseas.
To make travelling in a cat carrier as pleasant as possible it is critical that you allow your cat time to adjust and familiarize itself with the carrier before being confined for long periods of time. It is therefore recommended that you purchase your carrier in plenty of time and allow your cat time to explore it and get familiar.
It can helpful to leave the door of the carrier open at home so that your cat can explore the interior. Placing some comfy bedding inside (such as an old unwanted jumper) and some favourite cat treats are likely to coax your feline inside and see their encourage them to recognise the carrier as a safe environment.
Cat Travel Tips
Even if you are relocating abroad, you will likely find your car will need transporting in your car at some point. Alternatively, many cat owners that PBS deal with opt to use our dedicated pet courier service. In such a case, your feline friend will be collected by one of our pet-loving team and they will transport your pet in one of our air-conditioned pet taxis.
For those who opt to transport their cat by road themselves there are a number of rules that should be remembered:
The Best Cat Carrier for Long Distance Travel
Your first and most important concern throughout the journey should be the welfare of your cat. That means doing everything you can to make the journey as safe and comfortable as possible.
Consider, for example, adding your cat’s favourite blanket and a few familiar toys to the carrier. When combined with a carrier that your cat has had time to adjust to this should help your cat to feel relaxed and secure.
To avoid the risk of escape or harm coming to your cat you should aim to keep them confined for the journey. The last thing you want is your cat getting free and making a dash for the nearest road.
Secure Cat Carrier
Of course, it isn’t enough to use a cat carrier; this should also be secured to prevent it sliding around while driving. A good idea can be to secure the carrier with an available seatbelt. In addition, consider modifying your driving if possible to accelerate and decelerate more gently to provide a smoother ride for your feline passenger.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
At home your cat is free to regulate its own temperature; you’ve no doubt found your feline friend curled up near a radiator or in the sunshine in the past. Within the confines of a vehicle however this behaviour is not possible, so you must do what you can to keep your cat at a comfortable temperature.
As necessary use your car heater or air conditioning to maintain a suitable temperature. Additionally, on particularly hot or cold days, try to avoid parking up and leaving your cat in the car while you do some errands.
Be Mindful of Feeding
Cats are typically sensitive animals, so cat travel can lead to upset stomachs in some circumstances. Most pet travel experts therefore recommend not feeding your cat shortly before travel; try to leave at least a few hours before food and travel to minimize the odds of discomfort for your cat.
Check Water Regularly
Like any other animal cats need to stay hydrated. If you are travelling by car try to stop regularly so you can provide fresh water for your pet. If you are travelling by plane, then follow the guidance of the airline in question or your pet relocation expert.
If PBS Pet Travel are transporting your cat then we will ensure that your pet is suitably hydrated and arrives at his or her destination in perfect health.
If travelling internationally it is common to require some form of identification; most often micro chipping. Even when travelling within the UK however it can be beneficial to fit your cat with a collar and your contact details. In this way even if your cat manages to “give you the slip” you stand a better chance of recovering your feline friend.
Can I take my cat on holiday with me?
Whilst it is possible to take your cat on holiday with you either in the UK or abroad, it can be rather stressful for your cat to endure and so it might be in their best interests to stay in the comfort of their own environment with a trusted carer. However, it really is about what is best based on your individual cat, as they’re all different so it’s a decision only you can make.
Can I use cat sedatives for travel?
In certain situations, sedatives can be given to a cat. However, the decision will be on advice from your veterinarian. In most cases, it is not advisable to give cats travelling by air any form of sedative due to the associated health risks.
How can I reduce my cat’s anxiety when travelling?
There are certain products you can purchase, such as Feliway which is a natural pheromone to induce a calmer state. This can be purchased in a spray which can then be used on your cats’ beddings and around the carrier.
Can I take my cat on a train with me?
Yes, you can take cats in a secure cat carrier on all British trains free of change, with a maximum of two pets per passenger.